Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Workers' compensation, injuries and death linked to union status

Despite its prevalence, construction work can be a dangerous occupation in New York. Given the risks, workers' compensation may be key for injured workers and families left behind to receive income. Recent statistics show the disparity between union construction workers and those not in a union.

The Building Trades Employers Association states that its report showed that 85% of construction deaths that occurred in 2018 involved contractors who were not in a union. Those in the union received one-third fewer citations for violating safety procedures. BTEA is a representative organization for contractors who employ those in unions. However, the Empire State chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors states that the analysis of the numbers is inaccurate.

ABC does not represent union members but focuses on a strategy that favors merit over union affiliation. It accuses BTEA of manipulating the numbers to make it appear as if union workers are safer. For its part, BTEA says it used data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Union workers who gave opinions stated they stand by BTEA's analysis and that training is key to maintaining a safe construction site - something they believe is lacking with non-union members.

A safe workplace should not hinge on whether the workers are members of a union. When there is a workplace accident, certain factors could be critical to a workers' compensation claim. Regardless, whether a construction worker is a direct employee of a construction company, a contractor, a union member or a non-union member, workers' compensation benefits are integral to getting care and recovering after an accident. For help with a workers' compensation case whether in a union or not, legal help can be a vital part of a successful claim.

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